Carol: Sounds like a bit of cosmic philosophy. I understand you have an interesting spiritual background in an ashram. What was that about?

Rick: When I grew up in Whitinsville, I was always interested in esoteric stuff. I'd enjoy hanging out on Friday nights with my high school teachers and sitting at the kitchen table talking about the meaning of life and stuff like that. I read Autobiography of a Yogi (me and a few million other people) and that was a real pivotal book because all of a sudden there was this idea that perhaps there are other ways of understanding divinity and the purpose of life, etc. So the Cliff's Notes version is I went away to school, then left school to follow a guru and went to India.

Carol: Who was the guru?

Rick: The 13 year old perfect master Guru Maharaj Ji, a fairly popular figure at this time. Most of the hairs on my mother's and father's heads are due to that abrupt left turn.

Guru Maharaj Ji was the youngest of four sons and at some point, the mother and the two elder sons disowned Guru Maharaj Ji and his next older brother because of what they considered a profligate lifestyle. The mother and two oldest sons set up a separate organization called the Spiritual Life Society and moved it out of L.A. to New York City. I became the president of the new organization.

I had also learned Hindi since the mother of the guru, as well as a lot of other people from India, didn't speak English. I thought, well, if I want to understand what they're saying, without the filter of somebody else translating, then I would learn Hindi. I did a lot of translations when people came here that didn't speak English.

I was in the ashram for 17 years and that's where I met Linda. We became best friends. Since it was also a monastery, that meant no sex, no drugs, no meat, the whole nine yards. Eventually, Linda and I became close because we would be the people that would look at each other when things began not fitting just right. We'd look at each other and say, what's wrong with this picture?

Carol: And other people around you weren't questioning those things?

Rick: Right. So, radical as it was, and following the same yearnings as self-actualization which lead me into that scenario, I found myself leaving that scenario, or it just falling away. It was like a divorce of sorts. I was in this monastery for 17 years, so it was a very deep event.

It's very seductive to go into a situation where somebody says, OK, here's a list of x items; believe these things and do this list of y items that I tell you and you're all taken care of. You don't have to worry about the hereafter, you don't have to think about these things and make difficult decisions. It's all been laid out by people much wiser than you.

And that's really seductive and appealing and it certainly was seductive and appealing to me. It took a lot of personal work that both Linda and I did to go through the process of regaining or taking back that power that we had so casually given away. The pivotal books, the ones that actually helped a lot were Jane Roberts' Seth series. They were really powerful at that time to help me regain a sense of responsibility over my life and to move out of the stance of victim or devotee in need of master. It helped me understand that these are choices that I make and this is a life that I'm designing whether by conscious intent or just by neglect.

Carol: So then you and Linda got married?

Rick: Yes, we got married. Basically I went to the guru and said, you know, here I am standing up on stage giving these lectures and if somebody asked me what's it like to be celibate, I'm not going to have a good answer for them. So not wanting to misrepresent the situation, we just said, this is what's happening.

That created its own event and we got married. It's been a most incredible partnership, playground, learning experience. It's just absolutely fantastic. Each of us is who we are because of the other and we're real happy with where we are and where we're going.

Carol: This is what you call magical. James Redfield in Celestine Prophecy calls that synchronicity, the events lining up perfectly with amazing timing. I believe that is around us all the time but we are so focused with blinders on our security, income, job, etc. that we don't see the magic that's happening all around us.

Rick: There's so much talk about the New Age and this great millennia is coming or whatever, but we each have the opportunity, I believe, to live in that New Age right now by making certain choices and deciding to create a world in which we wish to live. That also is a responsibility that we can take on, to be able to see that there are other people who are aware that this is a possibility too, make the connection and begin to collaborate.